LIVERPOOL needs to become more European before 2008, according to the man who awarded the city its Capital of Culture title.
Judging panel chair Sir Jeremy Isaacs last night said attention to detail, such as creating street cafes and green spaces, would ensure the year would be a success more than any single development project.
He added Liverpool could learn from next year's Cities of Culture, Lille in France and Genoa in Italy, which are well known for their picturesque town squares.
Speaking at a regeneration conference, he said last night: "I have a love affair with city centres. I love squares, fountains and, increasingly, pedestrianised areas.
"It could be that Liverpool could still learn from others to ensure that people are happy walking on the streets of the city.
"Liverpool has these great spaces. It wants to make sure between now and 2008 that these places have cosy corners in them so that people can sit down and have a drink, have a beer, take the weight off their feet.
"If Liverpool spies were to go to Lille or Genoa, who will be jointly holding the City of Culture title next year, I am sure they would learn something."
Last year, a delegation from government watchdog, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, confirmed Sir Jeremy's statement.
Chairman Sir Stuart Lipton claimed Liverpool has the scope to become the greenest city in Europe.
He added there is no other city in England with so much space available to turn into parks and small gardens.
Mike Storey, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "The city is fully aware of the improvement that is needed to put it in the premier league of European cities.
"That is why more than £200m is being spent on improving the public realm which addresses the point Sir Jeremy has made.
"Work has already been started in Williamson Square and people walking around will see improve-ment work going on in projects like this over the next couple of years as we build up to 2008."
Lille and Genoa will both take over the title City of Culture, the forerunner to the Capital of Culture programme, in early December.
As well their pretty squares complete with street cafes, string quartets and performing art, they both boast a list of impressive architecture.
A commercial por t, Genoa is located in the foothills of the Apennines and has a population of 676,000.
A maze of crowded, narrow streets leads to the waterfront.
Lille 's Grand Place is its main square and forms the hub of the city.
Williamson Square is planned as a central focus for Liverpool's public realm in 2008.
A specially commissioned verse written by Liverpool poet Roger McGough will form part of a fountain that will project water and light above the square.
His poem will be chiselled into the black granite surround of the new fountain which can be programmed to form a variety of different shapes.
Liverpool is gradually becoming more Continental
FRENCH-BORN Regis Fardais has lived in Liverpool for seven years and he believes the city is gradually becoming more Continental in its culture.
Regis, 32, is well placed to comment on the changing face of Liverpool as he is the head waiter at one of the city's most trendy restaurants.
He said: "Liverpool is already a wonderful place.
"I like it a lot because it is very similar to the last town I lived in which was Nantes in France.
"Nantes is also a port that depended on the slave trade for its wealth but now both towns are becoming more European.
"At the moment the food and drink culture is very different in Liverpool than it is in France - people choose to eat and drink in different ways.
"But Liverpool is changing and that is mainly because the people like to go to nice places to enjoy themselves and there are more and more nice places here now.
"It is hard to say if Liverpool can learn from France, but it would be fair to say that all places can learn from each other.
"If Liverpool takes some of the good things from French culture it will become an even better place than it already is."
Coloured lights will also play among the water jets which can be switched at night to form a hazy mist over the square.